Friday, February 28, 2014

Sandhill Crane - VI

The last of the "5" Star Sandhill Crane photos comes from Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. 

The Rocky Mountain population of greater sandhill cranes is the most abundant subspecies that winters in the Bosque del Apache. They are the largest of all the sandhills, standing four feet tall with a wing span greater than six feet. The immature cranes are mostly rust colored their first year, after which they turn mostly gray with a red facial patch. All in all about 30,000 Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache during the winter months.

Sandhill Crane

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sandhill Crane - V

Continuing with my "5" Star Photos in general and the Sandhill Crane in particular we move from Arizona to Wyoming. Here below a Sandhill Crane nesting in Yellowstone National Park:

Sandhill Crane

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sandhill Crane - IV

Sandhill Crane number Four taken at Whitewater Draw in Southern Arizona:

Sandhill Crane

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sandhill Crane - III

Sometimes when you go to Whitewater Draw (Southern Arizona) the Sandhill Cranes are too far away for a good photo. You can get some nice landscape photos with them -- after all there are 30 to 40,000 of them. But, if you go often enough, your chances of getting a really good photo -- "5' Stars are greater. Here is close up taken as a group were flying right in front of me:

Sandhill Crane

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sandhill Crane - II

At times the Sandhill Cranes are far away, but can give you a good idea of their numbers. And, at times they can be seen up close and personal. Here's one not only close but making some noise as well:

Sandhill Crane - Waterwater Draw

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sandhill Crane

Continuing with my alphabetical series of my "5" Star Photos we come to the Sandhill Crane. Many people are lucky to live close to the wintering range of Sandhill Cranes. When I lived in the Seattle area, 10,000 or so Sandhill Cranes wintered near the small town of Othello in Southeast Washington. In New Mexico, tens of thousands winter at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Here in Southern Arizona, tens of thousands winter at Whitewater Draw near the small town of McNeal.

Being so close has provided many photo opportunities, Here is the first of the "5" Star Sandhill Crane Photos:

Sandhill Crane

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Saguaro Sunset at The Azure Gate B&B

The last of the sunrise/sunset "5" Star Photos was taken here at The Azure Gate -- again right outside my office. Always a delight:

Saguaro Sunset at The Azure Gate B&B

Monday, February 17, 2014

Saguaro National Park at Sunrise

Saguaro National Park is a great hike any time of the day. However early morning or late afternoon provide wonderful photo opportunities -- both animal and landscape:

Saguaro Sunrise

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sabino Canyon Saguaro Moon

Continuing with "5" Star landscape photos we have another "Saguaro Moon." This one taken in Sabino Canyon, Arizona:

Saguaro Moon

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saguaro Moon at The Azure Gate B&B

After Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Sunset, comes Saguaro Moon. This photo taken outside my office door at The Azure Gate. The sunsets and sunrises here in Tucson are pretty amazing. Because we are surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides, at times it appears as if the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. Here is the early morning Moon to our west, even though the sunrise looks to be coming from the same direction.

Saguaro Moon

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Back to my alphabetical series of my "5" Star Photos we reach the "S's". First up, a photo from the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Although, I am primarily interested in photographing wildlife, sunsets are hard to pass up. This one in particular symbolizes why I love nature -- even though it contains no birds or animals. I think it is the spirit and beauty of nature that is so peaceful and comforting.

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Huachuca Canyon, Arizona

Christine and I went with some friends to hike in Huachuca Canyon. I, of course was looking for wildlife photo opportunities. There is the continuing Sinaloa Wren, the Elegant Trogon, and the Northern Pigmy Owls that I hoped to find. Although, I was really hoping to find a Black Bear or Coatimundi. 

But as is often the case, it was something I wasn't looking for that 'MADE MY DAY'.  A brief glimpse of a Grey Fox walking through the trees and brush was the surprise. I got off several photos, this being the best:

Grey Fox
Much further up the trail we came across six Coatimundi. They were deeper into the woods and took off running as soon as they saw me. Photographing animals running through the woods is quite a challenge. Here's what I mean:

Coatimundi Blurr
As you can see, it is not a good photo. In fact, once I publish this post the photo will go into the trash. Fortunately, I have a large number of very good Coati photos, so I am not too disappointed about not getting a good photo this time. ---------- How can I complain after seeing and photographing the Fox?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Rufous Hummingbird - VI

And, finally the last of the "5" Star Rufous Hummingbird photos comes from Cave Creek Ranch near Portal in the Chiricahua Mountains. This male would not allow any other hummingbird -- including this Black Chinned come near "his" hummingbird feeder:

Rufous Hummingbird

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rufous Hummingbird - V

Today, a male Rufous Hummingbird taken at Kubo Cabins in Madera Canyon:

Rufous Hummingbird

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rufous Hummingbird IV

And, here is a female Rufous Hummingbird taken in Miller Canyon at Beatty's Guest Ranch:

Rufous Hummingbird

Friday, February 7, 2014

Rufous Hummingbird - III

Here is a beautiful female Rufous Hummingbird taken at Ash Canyon B&B in Southern Arizona.

Rufous Hummingbird

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rufous Hummingbird - II

Here's another Rufous "5" Star:

Rufous Hummingbird

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rufous Hummingbird

Continuing with my alphabetical series of my ""5" Star Photos we get to the Rufous Hummingbird. which is the most aggressive hummingbird in the US. They are relentless defenders of flowers and feeders that they have staked out for themselves. I've watched in Portal a male Rufous spend nearly 100% of its time chasing away other hummers -- almost never with an opportunity to feed himself. The Rufous is a little more widespread than most other hummers as it is found throughout much of the western US and Canada.

Rufous Hummingbird

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Why would this be a "5" Star Photo? Well, for sure because I think so and it's my photo. But, why do I think so? The Ruby Crowned Kinglet is a sweet little bird. And this particular photo seems to capture that "sweetness." In one corner there are wildflowers bleached by the sun, and the rest of the background is in the shade allowing the bird to stand out. I think also some of these smaller birds are difficult to photograph since they seem to be in perpetual motion all the time. Thankfully, this little guy stopped long enough for a photo:

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Round Tail Ground Squirrel - II

Here is another Round Tail Ground Squirrel, this time in a Creosote Bush. Usually there are on the ground (hence the name) but this little guy was having fun in the bush:

Round Tail Ground Squirrel